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Basics of Web Application Security Testing

We use web applications every day. Whether it’s to shop online, pay bills, communicate with others or play games, they truly encompass what it means to be a part of the digital world. While apps are a great way to bring people together through shared interests, they also have their flaws and can leave users open to security threats.

Users expect quick releases when it comes to apps. After all, we live in a world where new technological innovations come into fruition at a rapid pace, or so it seems. To meet user expectations and keep business moving forward, the software industry created an agile methodology to development. While the agile methodology is a fantastic approach to quick releases, it does present some challenges when it comes to protecting sensitive customer and company data. Because of this vulnerability, it is crucial that your QA and testing team perform security testing before and after any release.

What is security testing and why we need it…

Security testing is basically what it sounds like, testing the security of your system. It is a process that verifies if your system is protecting the data, while also maintaining functionality. Security testing looks for any loopholes (i.e. weakness, vulnerability, technical flaw) that a hacker may find and repairs them to prevent any potential malicious attacks.

This is especially important for two major reasons: (1) Security vulnerabilities threaten your user base and (2) they are very costly to your organization.

For instance, did you know that in 2014, Gartner predicted that more than 75 percent of mobile applications would fail basic security tests through 2015? This is quite surprising considering it can take up to 46 days to resolve a security incident and, on average, costs organizations (in the United States) $15.4 million.

So, what type of security threats should you look out for?

•      SQL Injections

•      DoS (denial-of-service)

•      Data Manipulation

•      Cross-Site Scripting

•      URL Manipulation

Well, how do you prevent it? What types of security tests are available?

•      Vulnerability Scan

•      Penetration Test

•      Risk Assessment

•      Security Assessment

•      Security Audit

•      Ethical Hacking

Though this is just a basic outline of security testing, it’s important to understand that security should be considered and tested throughout the software development life cycle. The world of agile is fast-paced. To avoid slowing down process, while also maintaining a high level of security, try integrating security testing with continuous delivery tools. Ensure your app is a product customers can trust from day one.

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